Want to know what delights are in store on that magical box of colours that sits in the corner of your living room? We have all the best picks of unmissable TV for you to enjoy throughout the week.
Get Me To the Church
Monday 7th March at 9pm on W (CH 124)
Seeing as weddings are usually such calm, collected and stress-free events, the evil geniuses behind this new series have decided to shake things up a bit. And it’s going to be absolutely bonkers.
Imagine if The Hangover was crossed with Don’t Tell the Bride. That’s how they’re pitching this big new series, and frankly we’re already sold. It may not be very smart or highbrow, but the idea of watching a bride or groom-to-be getting dumped in some far-flung location with their mates, and told to rush back to Blighty in time for the Big Day… well, if that isn’t simply marvellous telly, we don’t know what is.
Why would they put themselves through this sweaty, heart-pounding experience that could well jeapordise the biggest day of their lives? Easy: the reward is the honeymoon of a lifetime. First up it’s the turn of Dave, who is plonked in the middle of the parched, sun-scorched Sahara with his intrepid pals, and has less than 72 hours to high-tail it to the altar. We fully expect the trajectory of the programme to go something like 1) We’re in the Sahara, this is great fun!, 2) Um, how do we get home?, 3) Oh my goodness we’ll never make it back and she’s going to kill me and why oh why are we doing this? It’s stage 3 we’re looking forward to the most.
What’s the verdict?
Shows about weddings are always splendid fun (even if you’d never actively admit this to anyone), and this one looks to be a worthy addition to the canon. Phileas Fogg, eat your heart out!
Tuesday 8th March at 9pm on E4 (CH 124)
Michael Socha makes wisecracks and then proceeds to panic a lot in this big extended metaphor for racism and discrimination which is hopefully a lot more fun than big extended metaphors usually are.
Some years ago, there was a groundbreaking sci-fi film called District 9. It was about aliens coming to Earth in a hulking spaceship, but these were neither evil invaders or a friendly civilisation – they were a bunch of hapless, pathetic prawn-lookalikes that became a real headache for humanity to deal with, and were eventually herded into a ghetto. In other words, it was a clever analogy for Apartheid, and bigotry in general. Well, someone at Channel 4 has clearly been watching it, because this is basically a new take on the same central concept.
Once again we have aliens on Earth, and yes they’re in a ghetto. This lot don’t look like big messy sea creatures, though, presumably so the show retains some modicum of sex appeal. Our hero, played by Michael Socha, is a sharp-tongued border guard who doesn’t have a lot of love for the aliens – until he realises he himself is half-alien. So yes, this is definitely going to have a lot to say about racism and xenophobia in contemporary society, but hopefully in a way that’s subtle rather than stifling. Not that ANYTHING about this sounds subtle so far. But hey, it’s got a crime story in it too, so it should be gripping enough.
What’s the verdict?
This will either be cringily “right-on” or a genuinely gripping drama. While the basic gist isn’t too original, we’re liking some of the gimmicks – like alien body hair being smoked like a drug by humans. And with the likes of Socha and Michaela Coel, it has the kind of hip young cast well worth having close encounters with.
Famous, Rich and Homeless
Wednesday 9th March at 9pm on BBC One (CH 101)
Four celebrity volunteers take to the streets in a programme that certainly means well, but is there something awkward about seeing “famous, rich” people essentially slumming it with genuinely troubled people, even if it is for charity?
Is it heresy to question anything to do with Sport Relief? If so, we bet lots of people will be committing that particular sin when they watch this show. Famous, Rich and Homeless certainly has its heart in the right place, but the problem is inherent in its very title. These celebs may be famous and rich, but hitting the streets for a few days by no means makes them “homeless”. They will have cameras with them at all times, and the promise of a swift return to all the trappings of comfort once their work is done.
Add to that the fact that a few of the celebs (we’re looking at you, Willie Thorne and Kim Woodburn) are apparently going to be doing a lot of complaining, and it may make for rather irritating viewing in places. But let’s not get too snooty about it. At least it’s one way to remind the public of the horrors of homelessness, and the whole experiment is being run by the famously no-nonsense John Bird, formidable founder of The Big Issue. If anyone can keep things “real”, he can. And when the freezing weather and pelting rain starts to kick in, the celebs will really start to suffer…
What’s the verdict?
Homelessness is shooting up to unprecedented numbers in the UK, so programmes like this are increasingly essential wake-up calls. Even if the sight of Nick Hancock in a bobble hat probably won’t tug on your heartstrings in quite the way the producers intended…
Alaskan Bush People
Thursday 10th March at 9pm on Discovery (CH 250)
Never mind keeping up with the Joneses – it’s the Browns who are really setting the pace with their brave/bonkers life in the wilds of Alaska. Brace yourself for a family like no other.
It can be hard to keep track of these “hillbilly” reality shows. From Duck Dynasty to Swamp People to the shark-jumpingly peculiar Rocket City Rednecks, there are more of these sorts of “zany” shows featuring beardy good ole’ boys than you can shake a pitchfork at. But, despite its samey-sounding title, Alaskan Bush People is a bit different. These guys, the Brown family, are the absolute real deal. They are a dynasty who have genuinely lived off grid for most of their lives.
Bill and Ami are the parents who’ve raised their seven kids so far from civilisation that they can apparently go half a year without seeing anyone else. The isolation has led them to create their very own accent and vocabulary, and they’re fond of calling themselves the “wolf pack”. Oh, and they all sleep in one small cabin room. Basically, it’s the Waltons meets Deliverance, and it’s become a monster hit over in the US. Curious to see what the fuss is about? Then catch the new season opener tonight, when we’ll see what this curious clan have been up to out there in the sticks.
What’s the verdict?
If your idea of going “off grid” is putting your phone on silent in the cinema, the lifestyle of the Browns’ will strike you as utterly bizarre. Perhaps a little inspiring too? Hmm, we’ll let you be the judge of that…
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